When I think of a good popiah, my grandmother is the first person that comes to mind. In my opinion, she makes the best popiah in Singapore. There’s just something about:
- how the vegetables are perfectly cooked
- how each proportion of ingredient used is just right
- how when you take a bite into this Asian burrito (because all the Chinese-style goodness is wrapped up like an actual burrito!), you are immediately transported into a world of flavors and textures in your mouth
(This might sound biased, but I’m pretty sure my family can vouch for it 😄).
However, the downside is that I only get to have it once a year.
But before I get carried away, allow me to explain what a popiah is. Popiah is a thin paper-like crepe that’s wrapped with a filling made of cooked vegetables, meat and other yummy condiments. But oh boy, my grandma’s popiah is hard to beat.
Perhaps it’s her special touch that got me hooked. After all, hers was the only popiah that I’ve had thus far that incorporated crispy bits of flour in the wrap. I thought it was sheer genius to have that inside because when I took that first bite, there was no turning back for me. It became a necessity that a good popiah had to have these crispy bits, no negotiations!
But that’s not the only thing that defines a good popiah. There are many other elements that contributes to a delicious spring roll. Let me help kick-start your imagination. Think fresh hand-made popiah skin, flavorsome stewed vegetables (carrots & turnip, to be exact) laid on a bed of lettuce accompanied with a burst of textures and flavors from crumbled hard-boiled eggs, crispy bits (a big must!), chili padi paste, garlic, peanuts and sweet sauce.
Daaaamnn, just thinking about it makes me salivate.
So if grandma’s popiah isn’t always readily available, what’s the next best thing closest to it?
In this episode of Makan Makan Faceoff, we follow Chef Tony to his (& my) favorite popiah stall — Ann Chin Popiah in Chinatown Complex at Smith Street.
PS: my favorite crispy bits are inside!!!
MAKAN MAKAN FACE OFF is a new video series in which we celebrate & feature local hawker food! (or other cool food places, really